It's all about the kids!
Urgent Help Needed!
FOSMO is supporting summer learning fun with sewing, painting, mosaic, and English classes during summer break.
Thanks to our volunteer teachers for their time and efforts. Deb Davies Griffith, Pat Shepherd, Teresa Munoz, and Panayota Keramidis are teaching the sewing class. Cat Ferraz and Paz Galdames are teaching the art and mosaic classes.
What's the Buzz?
Click here to read our complete year in review from our new President, Kaye Gosline!
All photos generously provided by FOSMO friend and supporter, Erwin Musper, as well as FOSMO board members.
Dear Supporters and Friends,
Many of you have asked how the kids are doing in the midst of this global pandemic. We appreciate your concern and as always we thank those of you that have given so generously to FOSMO. Here is the latest news:
The children are all safe and healthy other than the usual colds and such. They went on total lockdown from mid March and still have only limited exposure to people outside the facility at this time. The virus has claimed over 1600 lives in Santa Elena province and many from the villages and towns near the orphanage. New cases are slowing and the province has mostly moved from the RED to the YELLOW category. Mobility is still very limited and curfews are still in effect. Safety and health of the children is the number one priority at the home so we anticipate lockdown will continue until we go GREEN and school starts again.
School was on break when the quarantine hit and should have started again after Easter. Just recently online classes were started and the rumor had been that there might not be face to face school for the rest of this year. It’s a fluid situation and now there is rumbling that the administration needs to find a way to start school within the next couple of months. Meanwhile, the orphanage is using tutors who are partly funded by FOSMO to facilitate the online courses. One of the needs is for more laptops, tablets, desktop computer and printers necessary for this new way to do homework and hear lessons.
As early as March 15, FOSMO participated in a campaign called Crocs on the Ground, Food on the Table and we contributed $5000 and then another $2000 to provide food for the home. In January, the government quit paying the home so there was a desperate need to feed just over 100 children and caregivers. Two other foundations also contributed funds and we were able to assure that there was indeed food on the table for the last 3 plus months. Last week, the government paid what they owed from the first quarter of this year which is really good news. I would still say that the situation is tenuous. Food prices are going up because of the crisis and we never know when and if the government will pay. We are monitoring the situation on food and holding some funds in case there is an emergency need. With so much poverty and hunger everywhere in the area, we are very sensitive to being a lifeline to the orphanage.
FOSMO has continued to pay for formula and baby supplies as we have for the last couple of years. Recently, new babies have arrived at the facility and at least one more baby is expected in the near future. Formula and baby products are expensive so if anyone wants to know what to bring when they return, these supplies are always needed.
One very sad result of the COVID is an increase in domestic abuse and abandonment. Already several new kids have arrived at the home. We are working now with management to identify the immediate needs for them but this also means that the facilities are officially overcrowded.
So that’s where we are at the moment. The board has not been able to meet in person as we are all still not able to get out for all but necessary shopping. We have talked though among ourselves about what we are going to do about Christmas. As one of our prime responsibilities, we want to ensure that the kids get clothes, shoes, school supplies and some fun things to make their holiday brighter. Normally, this time of year, we would have a venue identified for the fall fundraiser and we would be discussing the silent auction, organizing for ticket sales and the usual event planning. Unfortunately, this is not a normal year and we are brainstorming how to replace the $10,000 we had projected to net from this event. At this point, it seems wrong to ask local merchants or even local expats to donate prizes for the silent auction. I also don’t think any venue would be willing to commit to an event for 150 people at this point. We’ve discussed a smaller event, online auction of a couple of large prizes or maybe a series of micro fundraisers. With the quarantine still going and so many unknowns about the future second wave and the economy, the board needs to be creative!
Recently, the board is redoubling our efforts to fundraise through family and friends. These have been challenging times for people globally, but our hope is that you will continue to make these kids a priority. Our priorities for this year are:
1. Christmas: If we are frugal, we have enough money now to provide Christmas for 80+ kids. As usual, the emphasis will be on school supplies, clothes and shoes.
2. Education: Immediately, there is a need for more tablets, laptops, desktop computers and printers to fill the gap for online school as well for just regular school work. We are exploring ways to get the products here from the US or we need funds to buy them locally. This is an urgent need. Tutors are also going to be very important. We were in the middle of doing some fun classes for spring break so we’d like to plan to finish those over Christmas holidays.
3. Food: The formula drive and food needs are going to continue for sure. How much need there is will depend partially on how reliable the government payments to the home are in the future.
Any contribution that you make goes directly to fund either food, education, Christmas or a direct urgent need. We are so grateful for your generous help in the past and hope that you will be able to contribute again this year. I hope that you are your family are well and surviving this challenging year! Thanks again for checking with us.
FOSMO Board President